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Luxurious Cakes Detract from Day
As the Mid-Autumn Festival approaches, producers are wrestling for a bigger bite of the moon cake market.

To attract consumers, many producers have tried to improve the quality and varieties of their cakes.

Subsequently, people have a greater selection of moon cakes.

Some producers, however, have focused on other incentives to attract customers.

Some have packaged CD players, mobile phones or gold ornaments with moon cakes.

Such "luxurious moon cakes" cost a lot more money. Some, reports indicate, have sold for 20,000 yuan (US$2,420).

Unfortunately, the gift's meaning - people generally give moon cakes to family and friends - has been lost.

Instead of moon cakes, the focus is on the expensive item in the box. This, some suggest, creates an opportunity for bribery.

Some people, it is feared, will offer a bribe under the disguise of celebrating the festival with luxurious moon cakes.

Subsequently, moon cakes, originally meant to add to the festivities, are abused. The cultural meaning of the Mid-Autumn Festival is also distorted. It is no longer a time for family reunions, but a time to practice corruption.

To attract consumers, some producers resort to excessive packaging. Some have used mahogany to package their cakes.

After people eat the moon cakes, the packages are discarded. That wastes resources and pollutes the environment.

Packages account for between 10 to 30 per cent of the cost of moon cakes.

China should, like many developed countries, set up strict packaging regulations to protect the environment.

(China Daily September 20, 2002)

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